Tools for the Disempowered? Indigenous Leverage Over Mining Companies

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Rather than passively accepting development, some Indigenous communities have forced their demands into corporate decision-making. Accordingly, recognising and responding to community expectations becomes a matter of prudent strategy and 'enlightened self-interest'. This paper examines the case of Century Zinc Mine in Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria where the miner undertook negotiations and reached agreement with local Indigenous communities. It was later held to account by communities concerned about insufficient implementation of this agreement. Discussion then explores the campaign against Jabiluka uranium mine in Australia's Northern Territory, especially why multinational miner Rio Tinto deferred to local community wishes surrounding development. These experiences show that Indigenous communities are most effective in bringing leverage over mining companies when they impact upon profit or future profit (often related to reputation with specific audiences). The parameters and consequent limitations of a company's responsiveness to community demands reinforce fundamental roles for the state as ultimate regulator and provider.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)541-562
    JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
    Volume42
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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